Gardner Responds To Delauter’s Comments About Potential Lawsuit

She says his comments were ‘irresponsible.’

Frederick, Md. (KM) The announcement last week from  Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter that he’s encouraging a local company to file suit against the county has taken several people by surprise. “I think it’s unprecedented and it’s irresponsible for a councilmember to encourage a lawsuit against the  county to suggest that they hope the business entity gets a big payout from the taxpayers,” says Gardner.

Last week, Delauter sent around an e-mail which encouraged J&J Trash Service to file suit against the county. The company secured a federal government contract to dispose of surplus furniture. It tried to dump the furniture at the county landfill, but was turned away because the refuse was from outside of the county.

Gardner says Frederick County has had an ordinance on its books barring out-of-county trash from the facility on Reichs Ford Road. “Since 1980, the county has had a law in place limiting the county landfill to county-only waste. And it’s been interpreted consistently over 30 years,” she says.

In addition, Gardner says allowing the landfill to be used to dump out-of-county trash could be costly to taxpayers. “All of the residents of this county pay a system benefit charge. If we were going to take waste generated outside the county, it could result in an increase cost to local taxpayers,” she says.

Despite what Delauter has said, Gardner says J&J is not barred from the landfill. “They do collect waste from residential and business customers in the county. So this does not involve, as he would suggest, that we’re not allowing  J&J into the landfill because they come into the landfill everyday,” she says.

County Executive Gardner said if Councilman Delauter wants to make changes in the county’s policy on out-of-county waste, he could craft an ordinance to that affect. “There’s definitely a division between management and the legislative body under charter government. A councilmemmber can complain all they want. But if they want to be effective as a councilmember, they need to draft legislation,” she says.

Gardner says she’s heard that Councilmen Tony Chmelik and Jerry Donald are preparing bills that would address out-of-county trash at the landfill.

“I would never encourage any business or any individual to sue the county,” she says. “I’d always look for people to address their concerns in some other manner. And certainly they could encourage Councilman Delauter and others to address this through legislation.”